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State Police Respond to Route 9 Crash


State Police responded to a crash on Route 9 in Cromwell just before 5 p.m.

No information on injuries or road closures was imediately available.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

One Year Later: Yale Grad Makes it Coast to Coast


One year and 9,000 miles after embarking on the cross-country walking trip that changed his life – and the lives of those he encountered – Greg Hindy arrived in California and uttered his first words in 12 months.

The Yale grad kicked off his yearlong project on July 9, 2013 – his birthday – with a YouTube video explaining what he was about to do. Hindy has spent the past year on his feet, in silence, walking from coast to coast and taking photographs.

He abstained from technology – no phone, no computer, no GPS to get him through the mountains of Utah and the deserts of New Mexico. Just a map and a large-format film camera.

Greg Hindy sought to live his art, to become it, and although the project was very personal, he gained a loyal following on social media.

His father, Carl Hindy, tracked Greg’s progress by monitoring his debit card activity and building a map to show his son’s route. Carl Hindy set up a Facebook page so friends and family could follow along.

At the time of publication, Greg’s page had nearly 4,500 members, a number far beyond everyone’s expectations.

The list grew and continued to grow as word spread about the Ivy League grad who gave up dreams of medical school for a year on the road, propelled by his art.

Carl Hindy said his son had "a bit of an incredulous look about him" when he learned of the digital footprint he has left.

It wasn’t all fun and games. Toward the beginning, he endured shin splints, and at times he was low on water.

He also thought might die at one point, according to his father. Snow, hail and 50-mph winds pummeled him at Zion National Park in Utah. The cart he pulled to carry his belongings was not meant for such rugged terrain.

But he made it. Greg Hindy arrived on his friend's doorstep in Murietta, California, at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Family and friends from Yale flew in to see him. But before they could celebrate, Greg Hindy retreated to a private room. The camera was rolling when he spoke for the first time, in the style of a home video he created before he left.

Carl Hindy said at first, his son's words were halted and felt almost "violent" after a year without speech.

“When we first spoke to him you know it struck me that his speech was so soft and labored, it was such work to get sounds out, it was halting soft like he was struggling a little to retrieve the words, it was actually a little kind of scary at first," Carl Hindy explained.

But as he and Greg Hindy's friends sat together, gently asking questions and "giving [Greg] space to talk, over the course of two hours, it just seemed to me that he was sort of revivified," Carl Hindy said.

He spent Thursday with friends at the Getty Museum in San Jose, and his younger brother George was due to arrive in California Friday.

"He's really in great shape with lots of ideas about his photography," Carl Hindy said, adding that his son has "lots of observations of every sort about even things like the social order of the homeless. He very much fit in with the homeless."

He plans to walk home to New Hampshire. And he's keeping his long hair and beard to "better fit in with the people of the road," Carl Hindy said.

Only this time, he'll take a more direct route and employ the help of modern technology.

He's due to arrive by Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, he'll splice together the “before” and “after” videos and will post them online.

Although Greg Hindy himself will steer clear of Facebook, his father hopes to mediate an online question-and-answer session so Greg can share his experiences with those who followed him every step of the way.

"He really is back to life," Carl Hindy said.

Photo Credit: Carl Hindy/Facebook

Police Investigate Shooting in East Windsor


A 21-year-old man is in critical condition after a shooting in East Windsor.

Police say they responded to a report of a man being shot at the Mill Pond Apartments around 2:47p.m. They found the victim on the second floor of the H building. He was transported to Hartford Hospital. The victim has not been identified at this time.

The victim and suspect are believed to know each other and robbery appears to be the motive, according to police. Neither victim lives in the apartment complex.

East Windsor Police and the Connecticut State Police Major Crimes Unit are investigating. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact East Windsor Police at 860 292 8240.

Minuteman Project Renewed on Border


The controversial Minuteman Project is riding out of retirement in response the U.S.’s current immigration crisis.

Organizer Jim Gilchrist is calling for 3,500 non-militia volunteers to meet him along the border next year to carry out a new movement he’s calling “Operation Normandy.”

He chose the name because he wants the scope to be as big as the 1944 D-Day invasion and as a nod to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Eisenhower is the first president who took immigration seriously, repatriating immigrants after World War II,” said Gilchrist.

However, he said on his website they will not be invading anyone, but instead stopping the invasion.

The Minuteman is trying to rally his group of thousands to patrol the border from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas, hoping to bring attention to the immigration crisis and to help keep undocumented immigrants from crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.

When a Minuteman finds someone coming into the country illegally, they are ordered to call Border Patrol to handle that person's capture.

Gilchrist aims to have his force ready by next May.

His movement is in response to the overwhelming number of Central American immigrants who have fled to the country. In the past week, about 400 immigrant women and children were flown into San Diego for processing to relieve congestion at Texas Border Patrol sectors.

A 2008 law that allows Central American children to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol and seek asylum has been a factor in the flood of unaccompanied, undocumented minors crossing the border, immigration attorneys say.

By reigniting the Minuteman Project, Gilchrist hopes to get that law changed.

“The way we are going, we are literally encouraging the transfer of huge segments of population from Central America and Mexico into the United States,” said Gilchrist.

The Minutemen have garnered controversy over the past decade for putting untrained volunteers along the border, some carrying guns.

Pedro Rios, a member of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, criticized Gilchrist’s effort in the following statement:

"Any type of vigilantism, like the Minutemen Project, where armed citizens take the law into their own hands, is dangerous and only serves to increase tension and promote violence in border communities."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Watertown Police Seeking Missing 80-Year-Old


Watertown Police and Fire are actively searching for a missing 80-year-old.

Guiseppe Pilla is missing from the Neil Drive area. He left the home around 7 p.m. on Saturday and never returned, according to police. Pilla is visiting from Italy and speaks little English.

He is described as 5’5” and 150 pounds, with white hair and glasses. He was last seen wearing a navy blue t-shirt, tan pants and brown shoes.

Anyone who thinks they may have seen Pilla should contact Watertown Police at 860 945 5200.

Family of Dead: Don't Text, Drive


The family of a 50-year-old man who was killed when he was rear-ended on Interstate 80 Friday afternoon said they are angered and distraught by the accident that took the beloved grandfather's life.

"I'm so upset, so angry that someone could be an adult and be so careless," said Lanisha Blockmon, daughter of Walter Blockmon.

Walter Blockmon was killed in a four-vehicle crash near south suburban Hazel Crest. Police said a Toyota SUV rear-ended Blockmon's Dodge car, causing a chain-reaction collision that shut down eastbound lanes of I-80 for roughly three hours.

Blockmon was pronounced dead at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

The drivers of the Toyota and a Hyundai involved in the crash were taken to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

The driver and a passenger in a fourth vehicle were not hurt, police said.

"This is so surreal, this is so hard," said Blockmon's mother Georgia Blockmon. "It is so hurting. No one believes that this happened."

Family members said police told them the driver who caused the crash may have been texting or looking at their GPS.

"They took away somebody and we won't be able to see him anymore cause of a simple text," Lanisha Blockmon said.

No tickets had been issued and no charges were filed Saturday as the investigation is ongoing, police said.

The 50-year-old grandfather was a described as family man who loved his children and grandchildren.

"I will miss my dad calling me every day," Lanisha Blockmon said. "I'll miss him being with his grandchildren. He won't be able to see them grow up, go to prom or college. He'll miss all of that."

Family members said they have a message for drivers:

"Please, please no texting and driving," Lanisha Blockmon said. "Whatever is going on can wait."

Lanisha Blockmon said she may never be able fill the hole the tragedy has left in her family.

"Make sure that you tell your family that you love them every day before you leave because you don't know if you will be able to see that that evening," she said.

Riverfest Celebration Draws Thousands


It was a big night for Hartford as the 35th annual Riverfest celebration ended with a show you could see for miles.

Fireworks colored the night sky right over the Hartford River. Those on both sides of the bank celebrating Riverfest got to see the show they've been waiting for all year. Many came out early to make sure they had that perfect view.

"You've got to get a good spot. You get a prime spot, you don't let it go," said David Morales from Vernon.

The party connecting Hartford at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza and East Hartford at Great River Park was about more than just the big light show.

From live music and dancing to shopping to the food vendors there was a lot to keep people busy. Organizers expected about 200,000 to attend.

"It's very, very crazy. People everywhere," said Lorrie Little from Canton.

It's quite a different scene from last year when the rising river caused the festivities to be postponed. The rescheduled date meant a scaled-back event with just fireworks, but that wasn't the case this year.

"We have the live music, we have the breeze, it's beautiful. Got a bird's-eye view," said Siobhain Meachan from East Windsor.

As Riverfest's grand finale popped and banged overhead many already started making plans to come back next year.

"Definitely come out again," said Morales. "I saw there's some dragon boat festival again in a few weeks, so I'll probably come down for that. Next year I'll definitely be here for sure."

There are a lot more Riverfront events to come this summer. For a look at the schedule go to www.riverfront.org.

SoCal Gunman Surrenders


An alleged gunman surrendered to police Saturday after killing three people and injuring two others, firing at officers and barricading himself inside a Pasadena home, police said.

The shooting was reported in the 1700 block of Summit Avenue about 4:20 p.m., Pasadena Police Lt. Calatayud said. Residents were told to shelter in place.

The suspect, identified as 35-year-old John Izeal Smith, of Pasadena, allegedly shot his victims with a semi-automatic rifle before barricading himself inside the house, police said.

"Not only did the suspect shoot and kill an individual inside the home that started this horrific incident, but then he chased two female victims down armed with a semi-automatic rifle," Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said.

A man in his 70s was found dead inside the home, and a woman in her 70s was found dead on the sidewalk, one with whom he may have had a landlord-tenant dispute. The third victim, a good Samaritan in his 20s, was shot and killed after running to help the man and woman, police said.

Two more people in their 40s were hurt in the incident, but it wasn't immediately clear whether they were both shot.

Police said Smith fired at patrol cars, but no officers were hurt.

"Apparently the suspect had retreated into the home and started firing from the home at the officer," Sanchez said.

Smith called 911 and spent 25 minutes on the phone with a dispatcher who talked him into surrendering to police just before 6 p.m., police said.

Smith was arrested and booked in connection with murder, police said.

173-Year-Old Whaling Ship Encounters Whales Again


The world's last wooden whaling ship sailed alongside whales again Friday.

The Charles W. Morgan reached Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Provincetown, Massachusetts on July 11, located on the tip of Cape Cod. The restored 1841 whaling ship is touring southern New England ports for its first voyage since 1921.

The Provincetown sanctuary is a popular spot for whale watching and sure enough the ship's crew spotted some humpback whales.

"In company with the sanctuary’s research vessel Auk, the Morgan lowered a whaleboat to pursue whales in a gesture to symbolize the change in humankind’s relationship with the oceans and marine mammals," according to a news release from Mystic Aquarium.

Mystic Seaport posted a video of the whale encounter on YouTube.

The original Charles W. Morgan sailed on 37 voyages worldwide.

Recently restored, the ship will stay in Provincetown through Sunday, as the crew works with the National Marine Sanctuaries on "outreach activities highlighting the sanctuary's role in whale conservation and ocean research," according to the news release.

Click here to watch a live video of the whaling ship's visit to the Provincetown sanctuary.

The Charles W. Morgan will set sail again on Sunday.


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mystic Seaport

Thomaston Residents Escape House Fire


Firefighters responded to fire at a three-story home in Thomaston that started while people were still inside late Saturday afternoon.

A blaze broke out at a house on Hill Road just after 3:30 p.m.

The residents were home at the time and reported a fire in the basement. It is unclear at this time how many people were inside at the time of the fire but there were no reported injuries.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control by 4:54 p.m. Crews from Northfield and Harwinton provided mutual aid.

Thomaston police say the fire was fast moving and the house was a total loss. The cause is under investigation and crews were still on scene as of 7:40 p.m.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.


TX School "Unfit" for Immigrants


Protesters gathered Saturday afternoon to say a school chosen for hundreds of fleeing Central American immigrants is not the right place for them.

D. A. Hulcy Middle School is one of three sites announced by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins as a proposed place to house 2000 immigrants by late July.

A small rally on Saturday organized by Congressional Candidate Eric Williams denounced the idea.

Williams said he is not against the plan to bring children from the border to Dallas county, but the school is not the place for them.

"I don't want to see children that I don't even know, but I care about, put in this type of facility," said Williams.

Williams said the facility is unfit, citing a 2013 district-wide Dallas ISD facilities report that shows there are more than 20 million dollars in deficiencies at Hulcy.

Williams claims there is a potential for mold, asbestos, lead and other hazardous issues.

NBC DFW talked with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. He said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has already deemed Hulcy Middle School viable.

He also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will send an Industrial Hygiene team into the building early next week. 

If the building isn't deemed fit, Jenkins said it won't be used.

A Dallas ISD spokesperson told NBC DFW the federal government has not approached the district about using Hulcy Middle School yet.

Earhart Namesake Completes Flight


Amelia Rose Earhart has completed the round-the-world flight that her namesake never finished nearly eight decades ago.

The 31-year-old pilot completed the 24,300-mile journey Friday when she and her co-pilot landed at Oakland International Airport, where she was greeted by her parents and crowds of supporters.

"I feel like we've brought Amelia Earhart home to Oakland,'' Earhart said after landing. "She brought me all this way, and I got to carry her forward.''

Earhart, a former traffic and weather reporter, is not related to the famed aviator who disappeared during her attempted global flight in 1937.

The Denver resident and her co-pilot Shane Jordan took off from Oakland on June 26 and made 17 stops in 14 countries. They flew in a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine plane equipped with GPS and other modern technology her namesake never had.

Earhart said she hopes the global flight will inspire girls to fly. She runs a nonprofit, the Fly With Amelia Foundation, that sends teenage girls to flight school.

Earhart used to be embarrassed by the famous name her mother gave her, but she later embraced flying. She earned her license at 21 after working multiple jobs while studying at the University of Colorado to pay for flight lessons, according to the Oakland Tribune.

"Who knew she was going to do the obvious and fly?'' said her mother, Debborah Dale. "She did this because she has something to give.''

Elwood Ballard, who was 7 when he watched Amelia Mary Earhart take off from Oakland in 1937, watched Amelia Rose take off last month and land Friday. Upon her return, he presented her with a bouquet of roses.

"I've been waiting 77 years for this,'' said the 84-year-old Ballard. "After all these years, never thought that I would see the day.''

Photo Credit: Alan Waples

Bristol Police Investigate Stabbings


Bristol police are investigating an incident that resulted in two men with knife wounds.

Officers responded to Bristol Hospital at 3:32 a.m. after receiving a report that two men were in the emergency room with stab wounds.

One of the men, a 31-year-old, had cuts on his arm and refused treatment, leaving before police arrived. Police said that the second man, a 20-year-old, was "very uncooperative" with officers  and that he had a one-inch cut near the corner of his mouth "that required sutures."

The second man did tell police at the hospital that "he and his associate" were in an apartment complex parking lot near Surrey Drive and Bianca Road in Bristol when "there was a disturbance with a car load of people and a black male slashed them with a weapon believed to be a box cutter," Bristol police said in a news release. But police said that he was vague about the altercation.

Police have not located witnesses or confirmed the scene of the reported fight at this time and continue to investigate.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.



Dead Body Falls Out of Van


Drivers traveling on a busy Bucks County, Pennsylvania, road on Friday had to navigate an unusual obstruction -- a gurney carrying a corpse.

A Bucks County Coroner's Office van was traveling down the 100 block of E. Street Road in Lower Southampton, Pennsylvania, around noon when the vehicle's rear door malfunctioned, the coroner's office confirms. The body then rolled out of the van and onto the road near the Bucks Crossing Shopping Center.

A photo from the scene shows the body, wrapped in a sheet, sheet sitting in the middle of the street as cars passed.

County officials say the coroner employee driving the van realized what had occurred immediately and circled back to the scene.

A bystander helped the driver remove the body from the road, according to LevittownNow.com.

"The Bucks County Coroner’s Office deeply regrets this incident and will take steps to ensure that it is not repeated in the future,” a county news release said.

An investigation into the incident is underway.



Photo Credit: Jerry Bradley/LevittownNow.com

Police Investigate Reported Robbery at Bristol Car Wash


A man was robbed at knifepoint Saturday while emptying trash from his car at a Bristol car wash, the victim told police.

Police responded to Bristol Hospital's emergency room July 12 at 3:33 p.m. to interview a 57-year-old man  who needed stitches to mend a three-inch cut to his arm.

The victim told police that two white men attacked and robbed him while he was emptying garbage from his car in the dumpster at Mr. Bubbles Car Wash at 135 East Main Street in Bristol. One of his attackers had a knife, cutting his left forearm in the struggle, according to the man. The robbers stole the contents of his wallet, "personal papers" and "an undetermined amount of money," the victim told police.

The man described his assailants as about 6 feet tall, but police have not identified suspects in the reported robbery at this time.

The injury was likely caused by an "edged weapon or sharp object" and the man has since been released from the hospital, police said.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

5,000 Runners Race in Petit 5K


From one of Connecticut's darkest moments has come a very bright annual event.

About 5,000 runners came to Plainville Sunday morning for the seventh annual GE 5K Road Race to benefit the Petit Family Foundation.

The annual race launched just one year after Dr. William Petit lost his family in what has come to be known as the Cheshire home invasion.

Proceeds support the Petit Family Foundation, which in turn funds a number of efforts. Petit started the foundation to honor Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit "by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives," according to the race website.

"Most of the causes supported here are for the sciences of women, abuse of women. Billy does a great job with that, with the board, in giving out grants and things of that nature. He does a lot of things throughout Connecticut," Bob Heslin, Petit 5K race director, said. "This year I know that they're giving out a lot of money towards those types of items, and it's a good thing to do."

The race and fitness walk stepped off at 9 a.m. on Woodford Avenue this morning, off of Route 10, and was preceded by a fun run for kids.

NBC Connecticut is the presenting sponsor of the event.

Librarians "Mohawk Up" for Record Checkouts


A group of librarians proved that they never back down from a bet Friday by trading book checkouts for multi-colored mohawks.

The Vista Branch of the San Diego County Library set out last year to break a new record: one million checkouts in one year.

To gain momentum for their book-loving crusade, Library Director Jose Aponte and five other male library staffers promised to cut their hair into mohawks – publicly, of course -- if the goal was met.

Lo and behold, the library topped one million book checkouts, to the delight of the branch and the dread of those up for quite the haircut.

Aponte told NBC he felt some trepidation since he hasn’t been to a barber since the third grade. His wife handles all his trims.

But the message behind the move is bigger than a temporary – albeit striking – new look.

“The whole idea that libraries are alive and that we’re a part of it,” said Aponte. “At the end of the day, it’s a celebration, and we all think that we should celebrate more.”

In that spirit, the director and his staff threw a party for their Vista community as they got their new coiffures Friday.

Looking to his wife for pleading approval, Aponte had his white hair shaved on the sides and spiked up. He then opted for a patriotic theme as the hairdresser dyed the mohawk red and blue.

His reaction upon seeing himself in a mirror? “Hey, I look a little different, but my wife is still here.”

Son Charged in Mother's Stabbing


The son of an 80-year-old woman who was stabbed to death in an Indiana hospital has been charged in his mother’s murder, police said.

Rodney Louis Dickinson is charged with stabbing Margrine Haywood at Methodist Hospital in Merrillville, Indiana, according to the Merrillville Police Department.

Haywood was fatally stabbed in an assault at around 12:30 a.m. Friday. Her 88-year-old husband, James Haywood, was also found slain at the couple’s home in the 1500 block of Hovey Street in Gary shortly after 3 a.m., but charges have not yet been filed in his death.

A Certified Nursing Assistant told police she watched a man walk into Haywood's room “acting weird,” according to an affidavit released Saturday. The CNA asked the man if she could help him and Haywood told her the man was her son.

Haywood suffered stab wounds to her chest and was pronounced dead at 1:50 a.m., officials said. A registered nurse working during the incident told police Haywood managed to speak to her before losing consciousness, telling the nurse that her son “Rodney” killed her, police said.

A large kitchen knife was recovered from the scene, according to the affidavit.

Hospital staff expressed concern for Haywood’s 88-year-old husband living in Gary and Gary Police officers conducting a well-being check at the home later found James Haywood murdered.

Dickinson was taken into custody near his home, in the 3800 block of Maryland Street in Gary.

He told detectives he was the caretaker for the couple and said Gary officers called him at home and told him his mother was dead.

The hospital facility was placed on lockdown for several hours following the incident. It was the second Chicago-area hospital lockdown that week after Mount Sinai Hospital on the city’s West Side was locked down Thursday morning for a “possible threat.”

Photo Credit: Sky 5 / NBC Chicago

Subway Attack Puts Off-Duty Officer in Coma


A police officer is in a medically induced coma after being attacked on a Manhattan subway platform while he was off duty, the NYPD said.

The 29-year-old officer was on the southbound platform at the 23rd Street stop on the 6 line Saturday evening when he was punched in the head by a man, police said. The officer fell down and hit his head on the platform; he was later placed in a medically induced coma at Bellevue Hospital Center.

Police released a sketch of the attacker, who they said was with his daughter on the platform. The NYPD is asking anyone with information to call 1-800-577-TIPS. 

Severe Thunderstorm Warning, Watches Issued


The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Fairfield County until 8:45p.m. tonight and in Litchfield county until 9 p.m. A severe thunderstorm warning was also issued for  Hartford County until 7:45 p.m. tonight.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for Litchfield, Tolland and Hartford counties until 11 p.m.

There is also a flood advisory for Litchfield County until 11:45 p.m and Hartford County until 10:30 p.m.

These storms are capable of producing gusty winds in excess of 60 mph, according to Meteorologist Monica Cryan. Heavy rainfall is also expected.

Share your severe weather photos with us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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